|2007-2009| An analysis of the contribution that volunteering can offer to heritage management in a logic of active citizenship.
Volunteers work in all sectors of society and in all European countries, and are constantly increasing. Their role is not to be considered as a simple substitute for paid professional figures: for many reasons, it takes on a more socially relevant connotation. Volunteering is considered an important tool for the professional and personal growth of the individual, a fundamental means of social inclusion and integration and a powerful stimulus for active and responsible citizenship.
Cultural institutions, museums in particular, have undergone radical changes in recent years: they find themselves having to deal with a new and increasingly vast audience, having to adopt communication tools and interpretative strategies different from those used in the past, promoting social cohesion and carrying out cultural mediation activities. Thus, there is no doubt that their role as producers of services for citizens and their social function are much more evident. In this context, professions within museums are also changing rapidly.
All this is also reflected in the roles and functions of volunteers within museums.
The Volunteers for Cultural Heritage (VoCH) project, funded within the European Lifelong Learning Grundtvig Program, arises precisely from the awareness of the importance of the phenomenon at European level and from the interest in analysing it more in depth. In order to fully grasp the contribution that volunteering can offer to heritage management, interventions must appropriately integrate the staff activities with those carried out by volunteers, to whose professional and personal growth the museum can significantly contribute, in a logic of active citizenship.